How to Read the Pew Research Center’s Published Findings

Screenshot 2015-05-14 at 6.38.58 AMThe actual title of the article published by the Pew Research Center is America’s Changing Religious Landscape. You can read that article here, at their own website, rather than second or third hand if you wish. The story was reported by media outlets, such as CNN, with attention grabbing headlines like “Millennials Are Leaving the Church in Droves.”

Russell Moore takes a different perspective, suggesting that actual faith is not in decline but rather the false pretense of it. People without true faith have quit going to church to make a show. He suggests people are no longer attracted to “almost Christianity” but that real faith is alive and well. There are not more atheists than there used to be, there are more honest atheists. Please do read his article here. 

Ed Stetzer posted a similar story in USA Today, arguing that while Evangelicals make up a smaller percentage of the population than they did a few years ago their overall numbers have actually grown. While I think Moore’s article is better written, both make the point that raw data doesn’t tell the whole story. How we interpret that data is equally if not more important.

Defecting to Faith

stain glass crossFirst, let me say that I’ve been reading several different blogs listed at SBC Voices, and will soon be adding some of those to my blogroll.  A button for SBC Voices appears in the sidebar if you would like to check it out; I’ve been introduced to some really good blogs over there including Confessions of a Recovering Pharisee, who shares the story below.

According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, often quoted by atheists to show how quickly religion is failing, children raised in non-religious homes tend not to stay that way.  The New York Times calls the situation “defecting to faith,” and reports that over half of those raised with no religious affiliation will choose one in adulthood.  Only 13 or 14 percent of those raised in Christian homes will defect.  And although atheism has large numbers of “converts” each year, it also has one of the lowest retention rates. 

Link to Kevin’s article here, with more stats and links.